Khalifa International Date Palm Award organisers yesterday announced the winners of its seventh annual prize, including researchers and horticulturalists based in the UAE.
More than 130 researchers from 23 countries were considered for the prize. Most candidates were Arab, with others from Europe, the US and Australia.
In each of the five categories, first-place winners received Dh300,000, and second-place finishers received Dh200,000.
Two categories recognised research on palm trees, two were dedicated to members who had developed technology for their agricultural practices and the last was a lifetime achievement award for best personality in the field.
“It is no secret that the Khalifa International Date Palm Award has achieved continuous development and great success within a seven-year period full of accomplishments and gains, adding knowledge to the date palm sector,” said Dr Helal Alkaabi, head of the administrative and financial committee.
He added that the award has become more than just a recognition of best practices in the field, but also a chance for the community to gather and learn.
“The award has made an effort to improve its quality of award recipients to further incorporate all aspects of the tree and its production,” he said.
This year had the highest number of UAE and Arab participants, demonstrating, Dr Alkaabi said, the growth of the palm tree sector in the country.
“Since its inception, the Khalifa International Date Palm Award has made great strides,” said Dr Abdelouahhab Zaid, secretary general of the award. He said the competition attracted the most important researchers, experts and farmers at the Arab and international levels.
Winners will be honoured in a public ceremony on March 15, at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
The Category of Distinguished Researches and Studies:
1. A comprehensive catalogue of common sequence polymorphisms in date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) assembled by whole genome sequencing of 62 cultivars / Dr. Michael Purugganan - New York University Abu Dhabi / UAE.
2. Book of Fruit Tree Horticulture Date Palm, Omani Date Palm Cultivars / Royal Gardens and Farms Affairs - Royal Court Affairs / Oman.
1. Date Palm Development Research Unit Department – Date Palm Tissue Culture Laboratory – UAEU / UAE.
Best distinguished technology:
1.Isolation of Conserved DNA Sequences Related to the Human Sex-Determining Region from the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) / Dr. Mohyeldin Solliman Mohammed – King Faisal University / KSA.
2. DNA barcoding based on plastid matK and RNA polymerase for assessing the genetic identity of date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) cultivars / Dr. Mohammed Rizk Enan / UAEU – College of Science – Department of Biology / UAE.
The Best Developmental Project:
1. Developing Date Palm Cultivation in the Jordan Valley (Palestine) since 2004 / Dr. Nasser Gagob & Eng. Faris Ahmed Zaki / Palestine.
2. Coachella Valley History Museum / USA.
The Category of the Distinguished Personality:
Prof. Jose Romeno Faleiro / India.